Tiny Ellis comes home - at last

ELLIS Jay's family have welcomed him home for the first time after he spent the first 149 days of his life in hospital - but the happy event is tinged with sadness about the death of his twin brother and ongoing concern about little Ellis's health.

ELLIS Jay's family have welcomed him home for the first time after he spent the first 149 days of his life in hospital - but the happy event is tinged with sadness about the death of his twin brother and ongoing concern about little Ellis's health.

At a little over 9lb Ellis may look like a good-sized newborn baby, he is actually aged five months having been born extremely premature alongside his twin brother Alfie on December 21.

The babies were born to mum Vikki by emergency caesarean after 28 weeks of pregnancy, following weeks of concern about Ellis's health. Ellis, who was not growing properly in the womb, weighed in at 1lb 9oz, while his brother weighed 2lb 5oz.

Although the odds suggested things were more likely to end up the other way around, Alfie died after only three days and nine hours, while Ellis survived - albeit after an uphill battle which continues to this day.


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But survived he has and after his lengthy stretch in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, he has been at home in Sheringham since the middle of last week with his mum, dad Andrew and seven-year-old sister Chloe.

'It has been very hard all the way through, of course it has,' said Mrs Jay. 'But there was every chance we could have lost them both by now, so to come home after all this time makes us very happy, if still scared stiff about the future.'

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Ellis is permanently hooked up to an oxygen supply and monitor which tracks his heartbeat and the amount of oxygen in his blood. If either measure reaches a level to cause concern, which it can and does at any time, an alarm sounds. This in turn means sleep is at a premium for the Jays, far more so than parents of any other newborn.

'I had to wait nearly a month before I could hold Ellis and even after that I could not hold him every day - which as a mum is so very hard, not to do all those things which come naturally with your baby,' added Mrs Jay.

Along the way difficulties have included a heart valve problem, kidney deposits, chronic lung disease caused by being on a ventilator for so long and hernias. The latter will see Ellis undergo a future operation.

'It's been hell, it really has,' said Mr Jay. 'But what we need to do now is help him get bigger and stronger so he can breathe on his own without the oxygen.

'They can't give us the probabilities at this stage, but the prognosis is good.'

Mrs Jay added: 'Being home is one step forward, it has been an unbelievable journey so far, we just hope we can get Ellis off the oxygen - he could be on it as long as two years - and get the family back to some normality.'

The Jays heaped praise on staff at the hospital for their dedication and skill, particularly the doctors, nurses and the staff of the neo-natal intensive care unit. They have even asked one of the nurses, Stacey Dixon, to be Ellis's godmother when he is christened.

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